A Writing Chance: non-fiction programme with Substack

Are you a writer of essays, news, features or articles? Are you interested in building an online home for your writing and establishing a direct connection with your readership? With A Writing Chance, you will have the opportunity to join a 12-month programme where you will create an online hub for your writing on Substack, hone your creative and professional skills, and learn all about the writing and creative industries.

A Writing Chance aims to open access to the writing industries for new and aspiring writers from working-class and lower-income backgrounds and for those who face barriers due to intersecting challenges, including but not limited to ethnicity, disability, sexuality, gender identity, age and religious beliefs. This strand is open to people who are interested in establishing an online home for their writing on Substack, and who are not yet earning their main income from writing. Substack is a fast-growing online platform that allows writers to directly reach their readership via email newsletters – Substack writers cover topics such as culture, politics, sports, food, music, fashion, art of any genre, and their work is sent directly to their subscribers’ inboxes, as well as being accessible on the Substack platform. The aim is to build an audience for your work of paid and unpaid subscribers.

To apply you will need to have a clear vision of what your unique voice will be within the Substack community, and some understanding of the audience that you intend to reach.

The successful writers will begin the programme in April 2024. Over the course of the 12-month programme, you will spend your time honing your vision for your writing, publishing your writing on Substack, and building an online audience for your work. You will receive a bursary of £2000, which you will be able to use at your own discretion. You will be mentored by a leading writer on Substack who you will meet with virtually on a monthly basis, and you will receive committed support and guidance from New Writing North. You will work with your mentor and New Writing North to develop personalised goals that you wish to achieve during the programme, and your mentor will advise on professional development, provide feedback on your Substack vision and work, and guide you on how to build your audience online.

You will have the opportunity to attend exciting industry events hosted by the project partners, which will offer a varied introduction to the writing industries. These will include a publishing insight day at the Faber and Faber London offices, an audiobook development session hosted by Audible, and you will have access to further creative and professional development training online. You will be invited to attend an Arvon residential writing retreat at the Hurst, a 19th-century house and gardens located in the Shropshire Hills. During the retreat, you will have the opportunity to meet your A Writing Chance cohort, work with and learn from knowledgeable Arvon tutors, devote uninterrupted time to writing, and share your work and receive feedback. Towards the end of the programme, your work will be showcased as part of a celebratory event along with your fellow participants and the project partners.

All travel and accommodation costs involved in attending the industry events and the residential writing retreat will be covered by A Writing Chance. There will also be an access fund to cover any other costs that may arise in relation to your participation in the programme.

To apply for the Substack strand of A Writing Chance, we ask that you submit 500 words detailing your concept for your Substack newsletter. Your submission should explain why you are interested in your topic, why you are suited to writing it, and why you believe Substack is a fitting platform for you as a writer.

Please check the FAQs and Conditions of Entry before making an application.

Apply by 10am, Monday 8 January 2024